Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying: "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." Well, according to God words are necessary in this venture (2 Timothy 4:1-5). A young friend of mine said once: “Preachers say a lot of stuff.” Amen to that. Rarely does a Sunday go by that I am not reminded of James words:
“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2).
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment (James 3:1).
I purposely put those verses in inverse order because we often don’t relate the two together. But, obviously we are supposed to. As the “guy” who stands before the congregation more than anyone else and says more I also have greater chance to stumble - this is re-doubled by the fact that I am a teacher and a human.
I suppose a week goes by that I don’t hurt, dissuade, or misspeak in a way that is not productive to someone spiritually. It is a burden enough to make one wonder who could ever be worthy to hold the Light of God before an audience and humbling enough to keep one aware that without God’s help such could never be done.
But every once in a while you touch someone. Some words fall together that impact a person. Those “every once in a while’s” come rare enough that you wonder...but when they do they are enough to keep you walking on air for a year. I think it has happened with me maybe 10 times in 30+ years.
My friend Ann sent me an email over 15 years ago listing every sermon I had preached that had affected her and how it had done so. The most recent was a friend who attended where I preached for a while and told me of a couple of sentences that I used on two separate occasions that had changed his life or way of seeing things of significance.
He said: “You said ‘God calls us to be faithful. Not perfect. I am not a perfect husband, ask Melanie if you don’t believe it. But I am a faithful one, she will tell you that too. God calls us to be faithful.”
Hmmm....weekly we are given the opportunity to impact and influence others. These little words we use are weighty. Never underestimate what God can do with you! Now, go, use words.
*You got some good-looking feet there - Romans 10:15.